Good Cop, Bad Cop is the fifteenth episode of the fifth season of Family Matters, which aired on ABC on January 21, 1994. It was directed by Richard Correll and written both by Sara V. Finney and Vida Spears.
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Carl has warned Eddie about his late-night carousing before. So when Eddie is arrested for a traffic violation, he says he was the victim of racial profiling by two police officers. Carl refuses to accept his son's story of how he was "a black kid in a white neighborhood" until he sees it for himself. He soon tracks them down at a coffee shop and decides to get their side of the story. What he finds out is the ugly truth when the senior officer is revealed to be a severe bigot. An angry and frustrated Carl threatens to report the senior officer for his racial profiling, while also urging his rookie partner to reevaluate his own attitude. Meanwhile, Urkel gets more than he bargained for when he takes a worried Richie to the dentist.
Laura and Steve are watching Shai perform in their music video, when she fantasizes having them perform in her living room. She's excited at first but is horrified to see Urkel's face on their faces. She screams and runs up the stairs into her room.
Carl is excited that the Bears won and both Eddie and Waldo celebrate with him. Then Waldo accidently spills the beans about Eddie's speeding ticket. Carl is upset and has warned Eddie about his late-night carousing before, threatening to confiscate his license for a year if he does any more of it.
Meanwhile, Laura and Urkel are studying in the kitchen when Richie comes in saying he's nervous about his upcoming dental check-up as Laura tries to convince him there's nothing bad about it. Steve convinces Richie to let him come along to show him there's nothing bad about a dental check-up and promises him ice cream afterwards.
Later that night, Carl asks Harriette to go get him some pie. Estelle tells Carl to get it himself and calls him a lazy slug. Minutes later, Eddie comes home and tells them that he got arrested for a traffic violation. He got a ticket for failure to signal, but ended up being a victim of racial profiling by the police. Harriette asks exactly what happened, and Eddie explains that he got pulled over, and he gave the two cops his Driver's license and registration. As he started to ask if there was a problem, one cop rudely cut him off, and made him get out of the car, lie on the ground and cuffed him.
Harriette and Estelle immediately believe Eddie, while Carl accuses him of provoking the cops' non-protocol response, and assumes Eddie is just making up more lies to cover up for another late-night carousing but agrees to check it out. Eddie is hurt that his father doesn't believe him, citing it the worst experience of his life.
The next day, the friendly and charming Dr. Smiley gives the good news to Richie about his teeth being in excellent condition and gives him cinnamon dental floss. Steve asks for cinnamon dental floss and Dr. Smiley says he can have some if he lets him examine his teeth. He happily agrees, claiming that he takes good care of them. Dr. Smiley sees otherwise and notices a cavity on one of his teeth. Knowing Urkel will try to squirm, he uses laughing gas. It has an adverse effect as Steve goes nuts laughing and preventing him from doing his job.
Later on, Carl sees the two white officers at a coffee shop, and decides to get their side of the story. When he introduces himself, the younger rookie cop, Kenny Carmichael, acts respectfully, but his senior partner, Jack Evans, barely makes an effort to even look at Carl. When Carl asks about their pulling over Eddie, he realizes the ugly truth that Eddie had indeed been racially profiled with false traffic violations against him. Evans has revealed himself to be a severe bigot, who enjoyed every second of what he did to Eddie. He attempts to lie to justify his actions, saying Eddie ran a stop sign, then he fit the description of a wanted carjacker, then that he was clearly looking for trouble by being in the white neighborhood, and finally that Eddie gave him attitude, none of which Carl accepts.
Furious and disgusted, Carl threatens to report Evans to his precinct by filing a complaint and initiating an investigation against him. Evans challenges him to do so, but it's still his and Carmichael's word against Eddie's. Before he leaves, Carl tells Evans off, and that he's a slime ball who doesn't deserve his badge. Evans is insulted by his comment and leaves without saying another word. Just as Carmichael starts to follow, Carl stops him. He asks if Carmichael enjoys being on the force, as they put themselves on the line and never get credit for it. Carmichael reveals that it was a moot point; he wanted to help out his community and make a positive difference with good guys against the bad guys. Carl likes Carmichael's reasons, but challenges him to re-evaluate his actions, as it turns out that Evans is one of the bad guys. Forlorn and guilt-ridden, Carmichael agrees to do so while Carl leaves a tip and walks out the door.
In the Winslows' living room, Eddie is still upset about what happened when Carl comes home and apologizes for not believing him sooner. He explains that he was a cop and he needed to get their side of the story first before believing him. Eddie understands as Carl tells him they'll file a report in the morning. Eddie's upset and demands that the two cops should pay for his mistreatment towards him and will never forgive them for racially profiling him for something he didn't do. Carl understands his anger and convinces Eddie that there's two ways to deal with anger: hold on to it and let it eat him up inside, or give it a voice and make a difference in his life. He even admits that he's been in the exact same situation as Eddie, but he always gave his anger a voice and that's the reason he became a cop. Eddie realizes that Carl was right and agrees to file a complaint.
In the end credits, Steve has arrived at the Winslow home and gives Laura a note. His note says that due to extensive dental work, he's in great pain and is unable to speak. It also mentions that he has to rest and won't be coming by for several days. Laura feigns sympathy for him. Once Urkel leaves, she's excited and celebrates.
- Reginald VelJohnson as Carl Winslow
- Jo Marie Payton as Harriette Winslow (credited as Jo Marie Payton-Noble)
- Rosetta LeNoire as Estelle Winslow
- Darius McCrary as Eddie Winslow
- Kellie Shanygne Williams as Laura Winslow
- Bryton James as Richie Crawford (credited as Bryton McClure)
- Jaleel White as Steve Urkel
- Shawn Harrison as Waldo Geraldo Faldo
- Joe Chrest as Officer Carmichael
- Robert Hooks as Dr. Smiley
- Barry Cullison as Officer Evans
- Annie Gagen as Waitress
- Shai as Themselves
- This is the second episode (of only a few) to emphasize that the Winslow family are African-American.
- Eddie's car is stated to be a 1977 Dodge Monaco.
- Darius McCray has stated that this is his favorite episode in the series.(citation needed)
- Eddie: I was driving along minding my own business when the cops pulled me over.
- Carl: Did they ask you for your license and registration?
- Eddie: Yeah! Then I asked what the problem was and one of them told me to shut up! Then he made me get out of the car and lie face down! Then he cuffed me!
- Carl: That's unusual procedure... unless you provoked it.
- Eddie: But I didn't! People were driving by, looking at me like I was a criminal. And I didn't even do anything.
- Carl: Son, are you absolutely sure?
- Eddie: Dad, the only reason they pulled me over is because I was a black guy in a white neighborhood.
- Estelle: Oh!
- Harriette: Carl, this is frightening.
- Carl: If it happened.
- Eddie: You know what, I thought what I went through tonight was the worst thing that's ever happened to me. But I was wrong. Not having my own father believe me is even worse.
- Carl: Say, did you happen to pull over a '77 Dodge Monaco? The driver was a black teenager.
- Evans: Yeah. Ran a stop sign.
- Carl: It was failure to signal.
- Evans: Whatever. What are you, an activist on the force?
- Carl: No, I'm a father on the force. And that kid was my son.
- Evans: Look. I can see you're upset about this, but it was your kid that messed up, so don't go blaming me. All right?
- Carl: No, it's not all right. And you know why? Because I think you rousted my son.
- Evans: He fit the description of a carjacker we've been looking for.
- Carl: That will not cut it, Evans! Because I am familiar with all the outstanding carjacking bulletins and not one suspect even remotely resembles my son!
- Evans: Come on, give me a break. It's dark, it's a black guy.
- Carl: [sarcastically] Oh, case closed. Lock him up.
- Evans: You know, bottom line... your kid was in the wrong part of town.
- Carl: The wrong part of town?
- Evans: Yeah.
- Carl: Oh, so what are you saying? That black kids aren't allowed in white neighborhoods?
- Evans: Come on, they wouldn't be there unless they were looking for trouble. And you better talk to your kid. He gave me a lot of lip.
- Carl: Oh?
- Evans: Yeah.
- Carl: Is that why you made him get out of his car? Is that why you forced him to lie down? Is that why you cuffed him?
- Carmichael: Uh, look, Sarge, if your son had just told us he was a cop's kid, it would've been no problem.
- Carl: So what are you saying? That you only harass black kids whose parents aren't cops?
- Carmichael: I didn't say that.
- Carl: You didn't have to say that. Because the point is, that you two harassed my son because he's black.
- Evans: [scoffs] You can't prove that.
- Carl: But I can file a complaint. And you can believe that I'm gonna be sure that there is an investigation.
- Evans: Well, go ahead. It's our word against your kid's. Bye.
- Carl: Just a second, Evans! You know, I really don't know how that badge stays on. Because it's pinned to slime.
- Carl: Just a second, son. How long have you been on the force?
- Carmichael: About a year, almost.
- Carl: Do you like being a cop?
- Carmichael: Yes, sir.
- Carl: Why? It's a very dangerous job. You put your life on the line, every day, and you never get credit for it.
- Carmichael: Yeah, I... I just thought I'd make a difference, you know? Good guys against the bad guys.
- Carl: Well... that's a very good reason. Just one problem, son. Your partner is one of the bad guys.